LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – Children are back playing outside at the community center on Third Street in Lexington.
“We grew up in the community centers. We have children in the community who want safe places to go but they don’t have them,” Corey Dunn said.
Dunn, a parent and community advocate, posted a petition online. He’s asking for more access and a bigger budget for centers like the Charles Young Center.
“I’m critical because I continue to bury our babies,” Dunn said.
Dunn works with children in the city as a mentor and says he’s lost four to gun violence this year.
“The violence is spreading throughout the city and it’s largely due to children not having a place to go, not having guidance,” Dunn said.
He said sports are a great outlet for most kids, but he says they need more programming tailored to their interests.
“Where are the programs for the young girls who need a mentor or someone to talk to? Where are the programs for the kids interested in coding? Where are the programs for the people who are interested in just having a group to talk about, ‘hey I lost my son like you lost your son,’” Dunn said.
Dunn says kids feel shut out when the centers are shut down outside of normal business hours. He believes investment in these centers will boost grades and self esteem, and lower the crime rate.
The Lexington Parks and Recreation Department says typically, community centers aren’t open this time of year because of summer camps taking place inside.
The Dunbar Center opened May 10, and representatives said they are happy to work the community to expand programming and open more centers.